What is Packaging?

The definition of Packaging is any product of any nature, used for the containment, handling, protection, delivery and presentation of goods.

Common examples include: boxes/bags/pallets/strapping/void-fill/stretchwrap

Obligated packaging:
  • Packaging around imported raw materials or components used in production
  • Packaging around both imported and UK sourced finished goods that you supply on
  • Packaging that you purchase to add to your goods
In practise, if a company is handling packaged product it is likely to be performing an obligated activity.

If you have any questions about whether you perform an activity, please Contact Us

Please click here to see if you perform an obligated activity.

Handled Packaging

The Packaging Waste Regulations 2007 put an obligation on companies handling packaging. This packaging legislation created a cradle-to-grave packaging activity chain, across 5 stages. Namely, the manufacturer, the converter, the packer filler, the seller and the end user of the packaging.

A packaging obligation is where a company performs one of the above packaging activities. Additional obligations are picked up by companies who receive goods from outside the UK, known as the importing activity. Conversely, if goods are sold outside the UK the exporting activity removes a company’s packaging obligations, but only on that element.

Companies must complete an assessment of their obligated packaging by packaging activity. The weight of packaging for each material must also be separated in order to calculate the company's packaging obligation forming the packaging data submission which must be reported annually.

Under the packaging waste legislation which was created following an EU directive, obligated companies must recycle a proportion of the packaging they have introduced into the UK as a consequence of their business trading. However, the only acceptable evidence of packaging recycling is PRNs which are effectively the packaging tax.

It should be noted that if a company uses recyclable packaging or are themselves recycling packaging then this does not constitute evidence of packaging recycling; only PRNs are accepted. In addition Waste Transfer Notes do not act as a credit against a company’s obligations under the Packaging Regulations.

EU Directive 94/62/EC on Packaging and Packaging Waste

The Packaging Waste Regulations stem from EU Directive 94/62/EC on packaging & packaging waste. This packaging legislation sets out the background to the packaging waste regulations, including defining obligated packaging, packaging activities, the packaging data that needs to be provided and what constitutes handling packaging.

By defining the different packaging activities on which a Company may be obligated the EU packaging directive is designed to make companies responsible for the obligated packaging they are introducing to the UK system, particularly if they perform an importing activity under the Producer Responsibility Packaging Waste Regulations.

The EU packaging directive also explains that a Company’s packaging obligations cannot be offset through packaging recycling or waste transfer notes. In this way a company’s packaging obligations have nothing to do with their back door waste and instead are based on the weight of packaging that is being introduced to the UK system by a company.

There is a lot of confusion amongst obligated producers when establishing what packaging data is needed to calculate the weight of packaging handled under these Regulations and that is where our packaging waste regulations guidance can prove invaluable. We can advise you on the packaging legislation and whether your packaging activities are obligated under the EU Directive.

Recycling Packaging Waste

Packaging being recyclable or recycled packaging has no benefit towards the Producer Responsibility Packaging Waste Regulations. Your obligations are solely based on the packaging being handled whether it is used for containment, protection or the presentation of your goods.

Under the current packaging waste legislation in the UK, producers need to take into consideration The Consumer Information Obligation (CIO) if they are supplying packaging around their products to an end user of that packaging.

It requires companies to provide information to their consumers on re-use, recycling and recovery of packaging. This is in order to increase the amount of packaging waste being recovered and recycled within the UK which is an objective of the EU directive 94/62/EC on Packaging and Packaging Waste.

When disposing of packaging it should be recycled wherever facilities are available, rather than sent to landfill. There are a variety of websites providing information about various aspects of recycling packaging waste. http://www.recyclenow.com/ is one website where you can input your postal code to find where you and your customers can recycle packaging waste.

A Government Accredited Compliance Scheme for the Producer Responsibility Packaging Waste Regulations